WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama kept up pressure on Congress Monday to pass tough new gun legislation, seeking help from law enforcement leaders in three communities that have suffered the horrors of mass shootings.
At a White House meeting, Obama said that no group is more important in the gun debate and he said he recognizes the issue “elicits a lot of passion all across the country.” But Obama also said he believes Congress will respond to appeals from police.
“Hopefully if law enforcement officials who are dealing with this stuff every single day can come to some basic consensus in terms of steps that we need to take,” he said, “Congress is going to be paying attention to them, and we’ll be able to make progress.”
The president’s meeting comes as he tries to build support for gun control legislation that will be difficult to get through Congress. He urged Congress to pass an assault weapons ban, limit high capacity magazines and require universal background checks.
Obama met with the heads of the Major Cities Chiefs Association and the Major County Sheriffs Association, members of his Cabinet and chiefs that responded to the worst shootings of 2012. That includes Aurora, Colo., where 12 were killed in July; Oak Creek, Wis., where six died in a Sikh temple assault: and Newtown, Conn., scene of the most recent mass tragedy that left 20 first-graders dead.